Attorney for teacher accused of sexual assault begins fighting against bias
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 03:22:50 PM HST
The attorney for a former Sacred Hearts Academy teacher, who faces seven counts of sexual assault, began defending his client against "presumptive judgements" Monday.
That on the day when his client formally plead not guilty to all of those charges.
An Oahu grand jury indicted William Plourde Tuesday with six counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of first-degree sexual assault.
Plourde turned himself in to authorities last Wednesday.
According to court documents, Plourde met the alleged 15-year-old victim on the morning of June 9 in Mililani Mauka. Police say the sexual assault took place in Plourde's car when he touched the girl above and underneath her clothing.
Attorney Myles Breiner began defending his client Monday with one-on-one interviews with the news media, stating that presumptions are commonly made against the accused in such situations.
"Mere allegations, especially something like this where the allegations involves the assault on a minor, the assumption is that it's an adult and it's a man, they must be guilty. Hence, that's why you usurp the right to a trial," Breiner said.
Plourde was a teacher at the all-girls school since 1984. Breiner says he understands the concern that parents of the alleged victim have over the unsettling allegations. The parents filed a temporary restraining order against Plourde Aug. 9, two days after his arrest.
"I recognize the parents are very concerned for their daughter," Breiner added. "They're concerned that their wasn't, in their mind, proper supervision of faculty. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Mr. Plourde's entitled to his day in court."
Breiner added that the criminal justice system is designed for the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, because of the very stigma often attached to those who are accused of sex crimes.
"With one allegation, he's presumed to have committed the crime and deserves to get punished," Breiner added. "I just ask people to withhold judgement until this matter is resolved."
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